PM announces body-cams for all enforcers prone to abuse

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya September 19, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 19 — Body-mounted cameras will be issued to enforcement personnel of agencies susceptible to abuse as part of the government’s bid to curb corruption, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced today.

The government will also seek to install more closed-circuit television camera (CCTVs) at strategic locations, including police lockups, where such abuses are regularly alleged.

“For certain officers, this is so we can see what they are doing,” he told a press conference here.

“If they turn it off also we will know.”

Dr Mahathir said the move comes as complaints of corruption at some government agencies persist while others were faced with problems such as lack of manpower in dealing with matters such as transboundary crime.

The government is evaluating its resources to see if it is possible to reallocate manpower to these agencies and avoid incurring additional costs, he added.

The prime minister said the government could not afford to recruit in order to address the shortage.

“We are finding ways (so) maybe we can shift some of the already employed people to more important jobs because we cannot add any more considering do not have the money (to hire people),” he said.

The government's plan to rearrange its human resources reflect the growing burden on agencies such the Immigration, Customs and police face as the country develops and border traffic increases.

Dr Mahathir said the three agencies, in particular, are severely understaffed and have appealed for the government to more recruits, which the government could not afford.

However, the prime minister said his administration will still seek to meet some of the agencies' other needs based on priority.

“We will give priority to certain equipment,” he explained.

“There are CCTV cameras that will need to be installed but we will give priority to the body cameras and CCTVs.

“That also not every department will get. Some will, some will not.”

As of now, no timeline has been given for the installation of the cameras. Dr Mahathir said funding remains a problem and these will only be procured once “there is money”.

The government lost between RM3 and RM5 billion last year alone due to “leakages” at the country’s borders, the prime minister revealed.

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